Gogi Abroad Family Bikepacking Trip Through the Ecuadorian Highlands – March 22-31, 2017

Author: Michele Mundy & Photos: El Taraumara

If you think sustainable family travel isn’t a possibility, Gogi Abroad will prove you wrong. Gogi Abroad is a unique company focused on providing sustainable and educational trips to interesting corners of the world. GOGI stands for go outward, grow inward. When you travel on a Gogi Abroad trip it will change your perspective. The experience will leave you with a greater understanding and empathy of the native culture. This business is focused on balance; balance between family and community, spirituality, and adventure.

Sometimes it seems that enjoying outdoor adventures is an impossibility when you have little ones to look after. This family bikepacking trip proves that you don’t have to stop exploring the outdoors just because you have kids. Children of all ages are welcome on this incredible journey through the Ecuadorian Andes. Undertaking a family bikepacking trip on your own can seem daunting, so this trip is all about empowerment. The guides will give you the tools and knowledge you need to give you the confidence to undertake a family bikepacking trip on your own anywhere you choose.

The sustainable part of this journey comes from the Palugo farm. This is a picturesque dairy farm up in the Andes that uses organic permaculture methods to provide fresh food of the highest quality. The farm seeks to nourish the earth rather than deplete it by using permaculture practices. The farmstay will include helping with the harvesting and drying the food to be consumed on the ride. This way your family is nourished with the best meals and snacks throughout the expedition. After staying a few nights here you will be so enchanted that you may be ready to build your own sustainable haven at home.

The expedition is designed to include many levels of biking expertise and since it is geared for families the guides can adapt the voyage to different situations. The local guides have extensive knowledge of the route and have prepared alternative stops in case the group doesn’t make the day’s planned destination. After arriving at the indigenous village of San Clemente each family will enjoy a local family homestay for two nights with comfortable beds and a bathroom. San Clemente and is a thriving community that welcomes many foreigners each year without being touristy. In addition to the homestay, you will immerse yourself in local life by visiting the community school and playing with the school children. You will have the opportunity to cook with your homestay family and make a deep connection with this charming Andean community. 

Here is the basic itinerary for the trip:

The journey starts at the Palugo Farm outside of Quito, Ecuador. This is a family run, sustainable farm where you will begin to prepare for the journey ahead. Here you will prep for two days. The preparations include: learning all about the terrain and route, learning about the equipment you will be using, how to repair the bikes and other gear, and also harvesting and prepping food for the expedition.

On day 3 the adventure really begins. After breakfast, the group will take a shuttle towards the town of Malchingui  where the bike ride will commence. You will ride along the canal towards the Cochasqui campsite. The ride will take between 3 and 6 hours with stops. You will enjoy amazing views and all the character of the local towns. The day will finish by setting up camp at the archaeological site of Cochasqui.

After breakfast and packing up the campsite, day 4 will include a scenic ride along an old railroad and some back roads. This ride will be upwards of 5 hours with varying terrain, small scenic towns, and a beautiful descent to San Pablo Lake.

From Zuleta on day five, you will complete the ride to the San Clemente indigenous community. This will include 3-4 hours of riding down cobblestone and dirt roads. The scenery will include picturesque Andean communities and amazing views of the undulating farm land.

On day six you will enjoy life among the San  Clemente community here you will benefit from a day of rest, crafts, and immersion in the daily life with the San Clemente families. At the end of the day you will celebrate a successful journey with a traditional ceremonial Andean fiesta.

On the seventh day  you will  travel to the city of Otavalo to  experience their famous their indigenous craft market.  There is also the option for an early bike ride for those interested. After lunch and time at the craft market you will return to Palugo Farm via bus.

Day eight brings a relaxing morning while cleaning gear and the expedition debriefing. This will be a great day to enjoy some time at Palugo farm, help with animals, learn more about permaculture farming practices, or just walk around and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the farm

On the ninth day the group will have a choice of experiencing a dip in  the nearby thermal pools or visiting Quito’s historic Old town.

Day ten will be time to bid farewell. You will leave this journey with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. You will return home with close spiritual ties to an Ecuadorian community. This is not a typical trip to Ecuador, by biking through, you will have immersed yourself in community and seen a side of the country that few tourists ever get to slow down and enjoy. A trip of this magnitude inspires people, it leaves one changed.

The Ecuadorian Family Bikepacking trip will take place March 22nd-March 31st, 2017

To book this trip apply here.

If you have questions you can

Email: liz@gogiabroad.com

 Call: 802 275 2948

Gogi Abroad offers many Service Learning trips to Peru, so students can discover and experience a new culture first hand while making a positive impact in the places they travel. For more information visit – http://gogiabroad.com/
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